Saturday, October 4, 2008

Conditional Chatter

Remember Regime Change?
With an electorate largely residing in the blissful valley between ignorance and indifference, it’s easy for our politicians to distract us with what the Italians call fantapolitica. The idea is to sequester the serious and liberate the ludicrous. Any triviality that can displace important issues will do. Always popular are the forms of fornication practiced by our pols when they’re not busy screwing the country. Flag burning also gets the peasants passionate about something that hardly happens and doesn’t matter.
Large among the invented inanities this year is the debate over whether we should talk to those we call our enemies without first bombing the crap out of them to set the proper tone for conversation. McCain says he won’t even meet with Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain because he suspects that NATO ally of being in lingual cahoots with Latin America. He charges Obama with near treason for considering unconditional yatter with the likes of Castro, Chavez and the dread Ahmnedinejhad.
Well, where in hell did this idiot issue come from? Everybody everywhere else talks to friends and foes as a matter of course. It’s been going on for thousands of years and it’s called diplomacy. We used to practice it as well.
But then came Regime Change. Remember it? It wasn’t so long ago. When the neocons took over our foreign policy with the selection of George W back in 2001, they began work on the ambitious goal of removing 20 or so governments around the globe that they believed to be in Washington and Wall Street’s way. There were the usual suspects like Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Iran and Iraq, and new ones like Venezuela, Ukraine, Georgia and even, for a brief, heady time, Saudi Arabia.
The neocons made the practical point that there was no reason to talk to the leaders of these lands because they soon would be dead or in exile. Since George didn’t like palavering with disobedients, let alone foreign ones, that was just fine with him. Thus commenced an era when, if George W cut you dead, it was with a sniper rifle rather than a social snub.
The Bushies were somewhat successful, notably in Ukraine and the Caucasus where they managed to install client states now making trouble for us. But they missed their major targets. Iraq is no closer to being added to our insolvent empire than it was under Saddam Hussein. Iran and Venezuela are stronger and more influential than ever in their regions. And Bush wouldn’t let the neocons go near his Saudi satraps. It soon became clear that regime change was a flop and, worse, that no enemy had ever done more lethal damage to the American empire/economy than the Bush bunch.
Like the scum in the tub after a shower, all that remains of regime change is the idiot issue of whether our presidents should precondition their palaver with our adversaries. Given the turn of events in the world, it's more likely that those adversaries will have no more interest in talking to us than we do in chatting with an empty ATM machine.

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